RAWLINS LOWNDES was born on the island of St. Kitts in the British West Indies. In 1742 he became Provost-Marshall of South Carolina, a position in which he served for ten years. In addition, he was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly-a colonial legislature-in 1749. Lowndes became active in South Carolina’s revolutionary government, participating in the First and Second Provincial Congresses, the First and Second General Assemblies, and the First and Second Councils of Safety. And in 1776 he joined the committee charged with drafting a constitution for South Carolina. At the same time, he opposed armed rebellion against Britain. In 1778 he was elected President of South Carolina, and among the revisions to the constitution that he approved were to: change the title of the chief executive from president to governor; remove the governor’s veto power; create a Senate to be elected by popular vote; and disestablish the Church of England in South Carolina. When British forces threatened South Carolina in 1779, Lowndes led troops to Charleston, but the city fell and Lowndes was taken prisoner by the British. He later rejoined the South Carolina General Assembly in time for the debate on ratification of the U.S. Constitution, which he opposed for its restrictions on slave trade, for its empowerment of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and for its overall realignment of power to the federal government, which he believed would bring an end to state independence. Lowndes went on to serve in the state House of Representatives from 1787 until 1790.
*Note: exact date of birth is not known.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.